The library is a community’s public treasure trove, and we have some gems in ours here in Norfolk.
The Norfolk Public Library has an impressive dual distinction: at 113-years-old it is the oldest free public library in Virginia, yet it is also one of the most futuristic and advanced libraries in the country, with Slover, in particular, regularly receiving awards and accolades for its architecture and technological components.
Here at AltDaily we love the library. This article is the first in a promotional partnership with Norfolk Public Libraries meant to help you get the most out of these cornucopias of information, creativity, and exploration.
To get us started, here are 50 things we recommend you check out at Norfolk Public Libraries:
In no particular order….
1. The kids classes.
Local mom extraordinaire Erin Lindstrom recommends Babygarten and Toddler Time, and she loves that Slover offered free ballet classes earlier this year. “Play areas at each library are super cute– Slover and Pretlow are particularly noteworthy,” she said.
For all the kid-centric programming at NPL, click here.
Not only does NPL help you see our world better, it helps you see all the worlds better. Check out this Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope.
3. The Harry Potter books.
In English, French, German, Latin, and Spanish.
For all you local history and genealogy buffs, the Sargeant Memorial Collection is a vision, and a portal to virtually unlimited resources.
5. PixelFest 2017
Described as “a gaming festival with activities for all ages and skill levels from toddlers on up to professional developers,” this event *blew up* its first year, and is now returning for round two from April 7 to 9. For more on PixelFest 2017, stay updated by RSVP’ing to the Facebook event.
6. The plays and Poems of William Shakespeare.
Even after all these years, they never get old.
7. Over 100 Virginia cookbooks.
Including this treasure, a Freemason Baptist Church cookbook from 1907.
8. Kill A Watt EZ : electricity usage monitor.
This allows the user to accurately measure power consumption of household appliances, and to determine the actual cost of power consumed.
9. Musical scores!
Including Hamilton piano and vocal selections; and the music from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
10. Homework resources.
Including Literati Public, which is “an easy-to-use tool for reference questions and research projects.”
11. Mystery author Walter Mosley.
“Devil in a Blue Dress” isn’t a bad place to start if you’re unfamiliar with his work.
12. Lego Mania.
Because who doesn’t love legos?
Learn over *80* foreign languages with this program, offered by NPL.
14. A tombstone book from 1585.
With illustrations. This is one of the oldest books in the system’s collection, and it is spooky and fun.
15. The History of Middle Earth series.
In 12 glorious volumes.
16. The touch boards at Slover.
These things are fantastic, letting you see and virtually touch so many amazing moments of Norfolk’s history. Stephanie Harris said her young sons can’t get enough of them. “The boys are fascinated with the touch boards full of older Norfolk pictures,” she said.
17. The great outdoors.
NPL offers I Love Virginia State Parks Nature backpacks, which include a parking pass for free parking/entrance to all Virginia state parks, nature guides, a Port-a-bug field observation container, and even a magnifying lens.
18. The DVD collection.
“Our family is big on borrowing the kid movies,” said a regular NPL visitor, Holly Christopher, “and it keeps us from having to watch Frozen 10,000 times on repeat.”
I found a 1660 map of the American coast from Florida to Virginia particularly fascinating.
It’s not just e-books, but also music, movies, audio books and comics you can access 24/7.
“I love their e-book offerings,” said BA Ciccolella, who works locally in the arts. “I can borrow books straight to my Kindle!”
Click here for all the different things you can virtually check-out.
21. SAT prep books.
For the high striving high schooler in your life. These are available in print, eBook, or interactive forms.
22. The Sunday Times, out of London
Because to see the world clearly, we also have to strive to see the world from international perspectives.
23. The homeschooling meet-up at Larchmont Library every week.
According to local mom Be Essert, the kids do something educational, “while the moms play Bananagrams.” For more on the Larchmont Branch, click here.
24. Guarantee Title & Trust records.
These are an invaluable tool for anyone doing property record research. Fun fact: it is through these records that West Ghent found its historical name of Chelsea.
25. 3D printing.
The library regularly holds Introduction to 3D Printing classes, which helps citizens become familiar with the technology, and teaches them how to prepare files for the 3D printer.
For a full list of classes at Slover, go here and scroll down.
26. Historical spiritual texts.
NPL has a complete facsimile edition Martin Luther’s Biblia:the Luther Bible of 1534. If you’re any kind of Christian but Catholic, you can probably trace many of your faith’s origins here.
Not just any pair of binoculars, but Orion Scenix 7 x 50 binoculars.
28. Every edition of The Virginian-Pilot going back to its first weeks of publication in 1865.
“I love the local history collection,” said Norfolk library lover Ben Schoenfeld. “I found a lot of old newspaper clippings and photos, all well organized.”
29. Book Club Bingo at the Jordan-Newby Branch.
Each month through May, read a book that matches a square in the column for that month or a previous month. Fill in the title and write a one paragraph review about the book. Visit Jordan-Newby for your Book Club Bingo card, or print the card here.
Help get *your* book into the NPL system!
31. Books, books, and more books.
“I love to peruse the fiction, select a new novel knowing I can just try it, and let it go if it doesn’t grab me in the opening pages,” said Celina Mincey, who runs local PKN nights. “I appreciate being able to pursue a random interest by stacking a pile of non-fiction books next to one of the comfy couches or nooks and flipping through to see what I find out.”
For the card catalog, click here.
Did we mention that NPL strives to be one of the most tech-friendly systems in the country?
33. Cuisine at Slover.
According to Slover, their cafe is “more than a food venue, it’s also a gathering place and a comfortable spot to see and be seen.” And they’re right. Plus, the food is super tasty.
34. A piece of the CSS Virginia.
You can’t take it with you, but you can check out this fascinating piece of local history.
35. GoPro Hero kit
This is a GOPRO Hero camcorder with accessories, and My GoPro Hero Camera by Jason Rich.
36. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
Unabridged, annotated, illustrated, abridged, eBook, or as a graphic adaptation.
37. Rad Women in History.
Part of NPL’s Women’s History Month offerings.
38. Help finding college scholarships.
So many resources. Click here.
39. The Red Book by Carl Jung.
“You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning,” Jung wrote. “If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness.”
Check out all these computer and technology classes!
41. Tax help and other community resources.
“In these difficult economic times, record numbers of people are relying on their public library to help locate vital information and services–a role the Norfolk Public Library takes seriously,” according to NPL. Amen.
For more on adult education, tax help, resources for the homeless, emergency planning, and more, click here.
42. A nearly complete set of Maury High School yearbooks.
All the way back to 1909. Outfits and student quotes throughout Norfolk’s history ftw.
43. George Orwell’s 1984.
There are multiple copies spread throughout the dozen branches of NPL.
44. Government records.
Because little brother and sister are watching, too 😉
45. The Bookmobile!
Norfolk Public Library also goes to the people who need more books in their lives.
Taking place at the Little Creek Branch.
Which can come with the books that teach you how to use it: The Ultimate Guide to your Microscope by Shar Levine & Leslie Johnstone and The World of the Microscope by Chris Oxlade and Corinne Stockley.
48. A wedding.
If only one could marry a book, right?
But Slover is actually one of the more lovely places to get married in Hampton Roads. To learn more about the library as a rental facility, click here.
Grab your hat and read with the Cat!
50. Eat, Pray, Love book club kit.
“I think I deserve something beautiful,” said author Elizabeth Gilbert. Something beautiful… like a trip to the library.
About the sponsor of this post: The Norfolk Public Library (NPL) became the first free public library in Virginia in 1904, and its collection includes classic and popular items from the late 19th century to today. NPL offers access to information, books, programs, and online resources to meet the needs of our diverse community for life-long learning. The library system consists of one main library, ten branch libraries, one anchor branch library, and the Bookmobile. All NPL library programs are free and open to the public.